Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Outcast Cinema Update: Suzuki Norifumi

Hello Blog:

Marc Walkow is still living it up in Japan and has just added a juicy update to his OUTCAST CINEMA BLOG. If you're interested in Japanese exploitation cinema in general and Roman Porno and Pink Cinema in particular you should check it out. He's been doing interviews with the Gran Meister of Japansploitation Suzuki Norifumi (next to Ishii Teruo, of course) for some up-coming DVDs. Nice.

Here's a clip from one of my personal favorite Suzuki nasties, SCHOOL OF THE HOLY BEAST (aka. Seiju Gakuen). I'm amazed it's still up on YouTube-- not for long, methinks. Warning, there are boobs and general sleaziness:

More on the Suzuki thing at OUTCAST CINEMA.

ImaginAsian Center LA Opening: MIDNIGHT EAGLE

Hello Blog:

Apparently the rumors of the long in development ImaginAsian Center LA are true and not only that it's a reality!

Launching December 7, 2007 and located at the same spot as "...a number of historic theaters, including the Arrow, the Aztec and most recently the Linda Lea, which was a Japanese-language film theater..." the new ImaginAsian Center LA will be the West Coast answer to the ImaginAsian media mini-empire's East Coast flagship theater. (Trivia fact: where several years of the New York Asian Film Festival were held!)

The opening film will be the Shochiku Studios Hollywood-wanabee action flick MIDNIGHT EAGLE, which just opened in NYC this past Saturday as a part of a revolutionary concept for Japanese companies: Day and date world-wide releasing -- see it in Japan and NYC on the same day! (Grady Hendrix at Kaiju Shakedown has more on this here.)

Word on the street is that MIDNIGHT EAGLE is flakey popcorn weenieness, but I'm looking forward to catching it here in LA at the ImaginAsian because it somehow feels spiritually appropriate to the history of Japanese films in LA.

'What do you mean?' I can hear you say. Well, once upon a time there were a number of Japanese language movie theaters in LA including a Toho Studio Movie Theater (the above mentioned La Brea Theater). Why should you care? Well, if it weren't for this then Alain Silver wouldn't have been able to pen his seminal treatise on Samurai cinema, "THE SAMURAI FILM," which he started writing after watching tons of Chanbara and Jidai-Geki films there. (They had subs then! How cool would it be if someone started a new theater just for Japanese films, new and old?)

And now you know.

Link to Film at Eleven's write-up.

Giant Monsters Attack LA!

Hello Blog:

The truly awesome CineFamily movie theater here in LA will be doing a Toho Giant Monster retro on Sundays during the month of December. Films include:


One of the cool things about this new theater is that they do something called 'vertical programming'. Meaning: rather than clumping together a series of films, they have them programmed on the same days of the week throughout the months. Simply put, if you're out of town one week, you can catch another film in the series when you are in town. Nice for us who have other responsibilities than watching movies.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Amoeba Music Videos: More from the archives...

Still a lot going on here, which explains my less than stellar updating skills lately. But I thought that I'd put some more links up for the videos and interviews that I've cut for Amoeba Music that have been approved by the bands and their management -- there's been a lot more that's been cut but we're still waiting approval. (Talib Kweli or Jesu or Galactic or all of you others are you listening?)

Lee Rocker - Interview:

Lee Rocker - Performance:

Film School - Performance:

Gore Gore Girls - Performance:

John Doe - Performance:

Menomena - Interview:

Menomena - Performance:

Sondre Lerche - Interview:

Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Bros. Live at the Avalon Ballroom 1969 - EPK

Guitar Wolf! Get off your lazy asses!

So it's been, what, like 8 months or something since their last album 'DEAD ROCK' came out? I was beginning to wonder why Guitar Wolf didn't have a new album. What a bunch of slackers!

Yeah, well apparently Guitar Wolf thought they were slacking too and so for the second time in one year they have a new album out!

On sale today in Japan (November 22nd) and called 火星ツイスト(or MARS TWIST in English) the album is being released on the eve of their 20th anniversary! (Congrats guys!) The concept behind this album appears to be 'self covers' (セルフカバーアルバム-- their words, not mine...) of various songs and CD comes with a bonus live DVD and a special booklet.

Additionally, and very cooly, bitchin' retro drag-race inspired artist (Coop look-alike) ROCKIN' JELLY BEAN was commissioned to make a limited edition silk screen poster. (See top.) All in all, it makes me want a sequel to WILD ZERO.

In other news, according to Guitar Wolf's homepage, lead singer Seiji (aka. Guitarwolf) has undergone some surgery for a hip ailment "...due to his intense performance history over the years." (And that is approximately how much they rock: they cripple themselves with their intensity!)

Here's hoping that he has a speedy recovery and they can get back and at 'em putting out 3 albums in 2008. I'll be waiting!

You can listen to sound samples here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Nightmare Detective Review on Midnighteye

Forgot to post this when it went up, but my review of Tsukamoto Shinya's NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE (aka. Akumu Tantei) is now up on Midnighteye. I had a chance to see it opening day in Tokyo and mention my thoughts about that in the review. Check it out if you have a chance.

Link to previous NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE posting.

Stop the Presses! There's a Variety Japan Now?

I was at a birthday party last Saturday and I met a woman named Atsuko Kohata who is (I think) the lone reporter for the newly started Variety Japan (?!).

Yes, you read that right, Variety Asia was apparently not cutting the mustard since it's all in English.

Launched November 1st, Variety Japan is one stop source for worldwide entertainment news that is all in Japanese. Part of their content consists of articles translated the English language editions, but there's also original content (limited so far, it seems) that's being produced for the site (interviews mainly).

Okay, well, that's cool I suppose, but forgive me for asking the big question: Why?

The implication with the Variety Japan launch is that Japanese companies want to expand abroad with more export minded content. But the problem with the export of Japanese media abroad has never been a lack of willingness from companies in the West-- nor a lack of interest from Japanese companies themselves. The problem has been that many Japanese media companies have an over-inflated sense of their own self-worth and, for example, demand premium prices for films that would have no chance in hell of recouping their costs in the foreign market. This is on top of numerous stories I have heard about hostile foreign sales branches for some major Japanese studios makes me highly skeptical of this whole thing.

Perhaps Don (Ryuganji) or Jason Gray can offer some insights on this? (Know anything guys?) But while I wish Variety Japan the best of luck, I hope that the Japanese companies receive a complimentary change of attitude with foreign film festivals and distribution companies included with the yearly subscriptions.

Link here.